Sunday, 30 November 2014

Baking all day.

Everyone has their own holiday tradition... even those who don't celebrate things this time of year tend to have that one they they do every year cause why not.

For me thats getting together with family and friends and watching The Ref on christmas eve.
For those who haven't heard of this film, it's easily one of the best Christmas eve movies... because it's not saccharine. now... don't get me wrong i love a cheesy happy holiday film as the next person but i also like when the holidays aren't so perfect because... well... it's funnier.
Also for the record, Die hard is another great christmas movie... i mean if Sound of music can be qualified as a christmas film simple because she talks about packages and snow.... Die hard which takes place at a christmas party is 100% a christmas film.

Anyways this year the christmas eve get together is at my house and I am known to be a bit of a baker (i don't know how... 95% of the time i just find the simplist recipes and call it a day cause i don't really have a lot of time to put aside for baking.)
So i have sort of been appointed as the head baker and i figured... maybe cookies would be too boring.

So i've been trying to learn a few more tricky (but still not terribly time consuming) recipes.

This past week i have been trying to bake Profiteroles with varying degrees of success (read as they were edible but not what i was expecting) and finally on the third try (and buying a new cooking sheet since apparently air insulated ones do not work for the dough) they turned out pretty damn good (you know... for someone who is leaning)
look at them all puffy and hollow.
However at this stage it's really just a shell... so we made a pastry cream (which sounded hard but was actually pretty easy and really tasty) yesterday and after piping them... Voila!
... hm.... ok... that probably doesn't get the point across.
There we go.
Next time i'll probably mkae them smaller cause the amount they puffed surprised me but for now... yum~

Yesterday i also made some rose shaped Meringues.

well even though the recipe said they would be ready in 1:30 hours.... it lied.
this needed to stay in the oven frying out overnight before i could get them off the silpat.
but still i think they look pretty (and lemon flavores as well)

The final thing is something that was more of an experiment.
Macha shortbread.
we also had these imprinting mats so yeah.. .gave that a shot.

alright this looks great, cake wait to see how it looks when they bake!
oh..... oooohhhh...
well we tried that's what matters... you can kinda see the imprint but yeah... maybe one of the other mats will work better.

and thats the end of my baking photodump.
i figured it was better to post it here then to twitter.

But seriously go see the ref, it's dark comedy but it's just done so very very very well.

Now to figure out what other recipes i can try... i saw one for sugar cookie penguins.....
but i would just end up making Sugar cookie Prinnies.... and have everyone looking at me like i'm nuts.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Tales of Hearts R

Truth be told i have been at the final boss of this game for a few days but..... Project Diva F2nd came out and.... well one more song syndrome never seemed to end.

But now i have beat it and i can talk about it... yay.

So Tales of Hearts R is about a knight named Chalcedony who is driven by his desire to protect the empress... though he finds out his emotions are being manipulated by this one girls heart essentially breaking and making everyones emotions extreme.... then with no help from anyone else he saves the day!
.... thats... thats not what happens?
Well damn.

Okay it's actually about Shingu (the game translates his name to Kor [i'll explain how later] but ears win out over eyes every time for me) who has never left town and adventure is pretty much thrown in his lap as he finds out things you hear in fairy tales may be more accurate then anyone ever guessed.

First he Meets Kohaku, a lovely girl who is desperate to get a special type of weapon that only certain people can use. then Hisui, her brother who doesn't like how close Shingu and Kahaku have become in the.... 5 or so minutes they knew each other (the emotional whiplash was a bit sudden)
Eventually they also Meet Gallade (Gall in english but at least thats close), Beryl, Ines, Kunzite and finally Chalcedony.

To describe the plot.... the best way i can do it is say "this is Genderswapped Princess Tutu" and... yeah i'm not wrong. There is a character with a broken Heart and the group go around finding shards and realizing that while some emotions really really suck they are needed to enjoy the good emotions.

There is also this Parallel story about one of this world's moon falling if Sleeping Beauty wakes up.

So here we have the basis for the name scheme.
Everyone in this game has a pun name... japan loves their pun names.
everyone except the main character is named after some kind of stone.
so where does Shingu/Kor fit? why change the name? Shingu sounds fine considering.

Apparently the way Shingu is written is  心具
Now that first kanji is Heart - Kokoro
Because shingu is the only one not based off a rock (though his last name is Meteorite/meteor) i guess they wanted to get the 'pun' across to the took the Kor from Kokoro since a lot of people know that means heart but...... seriously should have just left it shingu... it's okay for us not to get the joke.

This game actually helped me learn something about myself regarding translations.
Had the game been dubbed in english and they called him Kor it wouldn't have bugged me at all.... but considering it's still in japanese i kinda want the translation to be as accurate as possible.
And the translation is good... some lines are changed but nothing that affects the story... more so what manner the characters speak in....
granted there was a scene early one where the onscreen text was "i don't have to talk to you" but what he said was "oh you knew my grandfather" and.... yeah i threw a little fit over that... i understand they changed it so the next line would make sense to an english speaker but still.

but other then some minor changes the translation is good.

The whole game is pretty good. for whatever reason they didn't bother getting the rights to the intro song so we get this terrible generic instrumental bit that doesn't really get you pumped to play.

The combat is neat in the sense that it limits how many special moves you can do in a row.... but considering how long it takes for those to recharge if you don't guard (and guarding feels useless) having your characters also limited by TP seems silly.... i guess i was just spoiled by the lack of TP in some tales of titles.

A great addition to combat is that sometimes enemies make a noise and if you guard at the right time you can counter. it helped me feel like i was actually needing to pay attention to combat instead of just tap the attack button.

Still despite enjoying myself i think this only ranks around the middle of my Tales of chart.
It's good, it's way better then the last tales of game i played.
But there was just something missing.
My fav tales of games have themes that can easily translate to real world issues.
and while this one does have "friends are great" it doesn't have the same "holy shit i need to think about things and maybe give some people hugs" like i got with Phantasia or Graces F

However.... it does have Hiroshi Kamiya in it... (he plays Chalcedony.... he never left my party[and honestly he never should cause his weapon naturally was strong against the final boss... on that note, even though i love him, don't use kunzite]) so that should count for something....

ok so...
1. Phantasia
2. Graces f [specifically lines and lineage]
3. Abyss/Vesperia
4. Hearts R
5. Symphonia 2
6. Xillia
7. Destiny* (my system wouldn't play it properly)

10. Symphonia

15. Xillia 2

So yeah i really enjoyed it, it could have been a little more engaging but considering it's a handheld JRPG it's a good length (i beat it in 30 hours which is longer then Xillia 2 took)
If you don't mind listening to japanese audio then you really should go play.
if that or "power of friendship" plotlines aren't your thing then this may not be the title for you but i still think you should give it a try... even if we get more games brought over like this (japanese audio only) at least we would be getting more awesome games.

Also today marks me owning my Vita for a full year.... that kinda happened by accident.
for a system that i have been told has no games i have beaten 13 games in the 1 year i have owned it... not including the 2 rhythm games cause... well you don't really beat those do you?

I like both the Vita and the 3DS, they are completely different systems with 100% different types of games. I'm happy i own both because this past year has been great.

anyways... i liked this game, i know i ranked it in the middle but i still really liked it. maybe one day we'll get Innocence R like this.... or hell i'd even be okay with Zesteria being brought over this way (really excited for that one, look so pretty) but for now.... at least i won't feel guilty about playing so much project diva *ignored pile of unfinished sketches*

oh one last thing, if your like me and get easily lost (or hated the map in symphonia) then you may be annoyed with the world map here... and you don't get the airship till pretty much endgame.... so that's fun.
but otherwise great game... need more tales of... .maybe some fanart on the way.
I already drew mint.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tegami Bachi Letter Bee

I thought i would have a little post about this but either it didn't get posted over from tumblr or i watched this before i started writing these.

Either way I am going to talk about this wonderful show (including reverse)... and a little about the manga... and about the artbook.

While i don't talk about this show as much as Princess Tutu or Natsume Yuujinchou or Haruhi Suzumiya it is easily right up there as one of my all time fav shows.

The story follow Lag Seeing, an Albisian boy who is found tied to a mail post and sent as a letter to his aunt. Apparently his mother was taken to the capital Akitsuki and lag was left alone.
The Letter Bee (this worlds postal service) that finds him is named Gauche Suede and aong with his dingo Roda they deliver the boy safely and even manage to befriend him.
Lag vowed that one day he'll be a letter bee like Gauche.
Fast forward 5 or 6 years and Lag is now 12 and has passed his first exam for becoming a letter bee.
through a chance encounter he meets up with a girl he names Niche who becomes his dingo. she is known as a child of Maka and wields golden swords.
shortly after they meet up with Steak, a mysterious creature that is probably the last of his kind... Niche treats him like emergency food rations.
shortly after passing the final exam Lag finds out that Gauche has been AWOL since shortly after delivering Lag. Considering that the weapons of this world (shiden) fire pieces of heart most figure Gauche just shot too much and lost his heart. Lag's new mission is to find Gauche and bring him back to the Beehive (postal office)
Of course nothing is that easy.

and anymore then that is getting a bit spoilery so.... onto why i love this show.

As you can tell by all the terms this show has a deep and rich lore. The world is cloaked in darkness and the only source of light is the artificial sun. The class system is set up where the closer you are to the sun the more power, status and money you have. everyone works their hardest to get closer to the sun. There are also these giant bugs that roam the land and eat peoples heart (which is why letter bees who need to traverse the land use fragments of their heart to resonate inside the bugs and destroy them). Also theres an anti government movement known as reverse who want to destroy the artificial sun.
i could go on and on just about the world building but i would be here all day writing.

The point is i just love the world and the characters and the music.
wow the music
First - I just found out recently that the singer of the first ending song for this show was actually sung by a Canadian. I find that kinda neat.
Second - Perseus, the fourth ending, is easily one of my all time fav songs (even if it's REALLY hard to sing along to cause the breaks between versus are pretty much non-existent)
Third - out of all the intros and endings the only song that i'm kinda not a fan of is the second intro... it just lacks the power or meaning that all the other songs have.

But the music and lore don't even begin to be the best aspect of the show.

If you were to ask me which of the artbooks i own is my fav. Shine would be my answer.
Not Ys 25th aniversary.
Not Falcom 30th Anniversary.
Shine: Tegami bachi Illustrations by Hiroyuki Asada.
This artbook makes me want to try new things and push myself as an artist. You look through it and you can tell that this artists loves his craft. When reading the manga he mentions that he traveled all over the world and it shows.
The art is just so breathtaking (to me at least)
the art in the anime doesn't quite capture how lovely his style is but it does a really good job of trying.

However it's not all good.
When the showed originally aired there were two things that pretty much doomed the chance for a 3rd season.
1. it 'caught up' to the manga and needed to make it's own type of plotline for the final set of episodes.
it's a common thing that happens when shows are being made as the books are still being developed.
2. There was a devastating earthquake in japan in 2011 that was shortly followed by some horrible nuclear accidents... this happened when the show only had two episodes left to air and people complained that the destruction of a town in the show so close after the destruction of an area of japan was insensitive and people complained. This caused the final episode to be the most sunshine and rainbows and lets tie up all loose ends even though the story isn't even halfway done i have ever seen. (including the sudden ending of Yumeiro Patissieru which came out of nowhere)

unfortunately with that "tie up loose ends" ending certain evens were drastically changed from the source material... so even if we did get season 3it wouldn't be able to continue the same plotline as the source.
and thats really annoying because we were just starting to get hints about certain aspects of the lore that are kinda important to the show... like the artificial sun, what it is and why it's needed.
but nope... gotta read if you wanna know more about that.
and considering how lovely the art in the manga is i am honestly okay with that.

I know i've been more all over the place then normal, i did something to my arms and the pain is clouding my thought process but i finished this last night and wanted to talk about it ESPECIALLY since i haven't talked about it before.

If you like really well thought out worlds with interesting lore and great music as well as fantastic art i cannot reccomend this enough.
um... i guess if you don't like crybabies or the world essentially being put on the shoulders of a bunch of kids (ranging from 12-24) then this wont be fore you... but it's all over on crunchyroll so you can give it a try.
the DVD was licensed by Sentai and is Japanese only (which is funny because a lot of the show is in english already... funny how things work.

and with that i have gone through my right stuff pile... (not including legend of heroes which will not be watched till Second Chapter is out and has been beaten cause i enjoy torturing myself for some reason) i think i'll rewatch Ouran high host club cause it's been a while and i do think it's cute.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Project Diva F2nd (Vita Version)

ok so i've only beaten the song once but i still think i can give an overall ramble cause... well i'm not new to this series.

Prject Diva is a rhythm game featuring Vocaloids... if you do not like vocaloid music or japanese music in general stay away.
if you do like those then boy do i have a game for you.

This is the second Diva game to come out in north america and upgrades from Diva f as pretty small.
now there are double scratch which mean you have to scratch with both sides of the screen (or the two thumbsticks) I had no issue with this other then if i'm playing the song for the first time i may miss a note cause i wont be able to see it.
It also has these sctraches that go to the beat..... i don't get ewhy they did this since
1. when playing the song for the first time it's hard to know what beat it's going to.
2. the seperate starts also go to the beat but are on a fixed tempo and therefor easier to read so why would you add this silly feature?

other then that it's pretty similar to the first one just with a bunch of new songs so if you like Diva f, this is just more of the fun.

Now there is one thing i need to mention.
When i was younger i importated Project Diva for psp.
later on i ended up buying Project diva extend for psp as well (it's like p.diva 2.5)
So playing this i knew a lot of the songs because they are reused.

now this game has changed A LOT since project diva 1. the addition of arrows, scratches, chance time and tecnical zones really have made the game fairly different.
so if you are like me and important those games you will be very familiar with about half the playlist... however they do play different enough where it doesn't bug me.
what bugs me is that my favorite song is nowhere to be seen... electric angel... i miss you~
but yeah if the F series are all you know i don't think any songs were reused from the other game.
and the tracklist is massive which is nice.

can it still be difficult? oh yeah... you can still finish a song but not pass it. still i love having it in my system to play whenever i am out (well if i could ever find a case for my vita so i could feel safe enough to bring it to cons.)

from what i can see there isn't too much difference between vita and PS3 versions... just however to prefer to play (i like the handheld aspect)

oh and easily the most fun song is Kagerou Daze... the note placement can trip you up but once the pattern is apparent it's just a blast.

but yeah... happy sega is bringing these over.
I do not like that if you want the dlc songs it's 30 bucks....
and if you want more costumes it's 70
thats just so incredibly stupid... 100 bucks of dlc for a 35-45 buck game? yeah i have a few choice words for you Sega.

but yeah the base game has tones of stuff so even if you don't get DLC it wont be lacking.
also if you have both Pdiva f and P diva f2 you get some bonus stuff (lots of costumes from the other game) which was nice... and you can share your ps3 and vita save if you want... which is kinda neat.

ok.. i gotta get back to beating Hearts R.
and maybe working on some birthday gift art.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hard to say I love you

I don't tend to watch many J-dramas or K-dramas cause they can tend to be just a little too over the top for me.
But this one had a cute premise.
5 people who use twitter and live in the same town meet up and it's about the friendship they start.
It's still pretty over the top... but it had this sweetness to it that made it really enjoyable.
that and it's only 11 episodes.
I do find it kinda funny that they all use their usernames instead of their real names but i have a feeling thats more for the viewers then anything else... or maybe i'm just the strange one who likes online name kept online and real name used in person.  (though i don't mind being called my real name online as long as we have spoken a few times... i'm really picky about this now that i think about it)

So we have Haru, a techer intraining/teachers assistant
Nakaji a photographer who online seems like Haru's best friends but things are awkward when they meet.
Doctor who works selling medical equipment and has a crush on Haru.
Peach who is new to twitter and just tagging along as support for Haru, she manages to get some great support from this new group of friends.
and finally Linda, a columnist for a magazine who is the reason they all met up in the first place. He was planning to write an article about the experience.

giving away anymore then that would spoil the show so if it sounds interesting give it a shot. it's over on crunchyroll.

While i'm not a big believer in 'trigger warnings' (because if i were to tell someone to not discuss space stuff around me they would look at me funny and then discuss it more [i know from personal experience]) I do think it's important to say that this is a drama, one of the dramatic things that happens revolves around the implication of self harm. I saw one of the comments complaining that it wasn't a 'trigger warning' so yeah... you heard it from me.

However overall the super duper dramatic stuff isn't too over the top except a few scenes which is kinda refreshing for a's not all sunshine and rainbows but i do find all the situations (to a point) to be fairly believable.

But yeah i enjoyed it a lot. i am trying to watch more J and K dramas so if you have any suggestions just let me know!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Did i play the same game?

something happens once, it can probably be considered a coincidence...
Three times you gotta wonder....
Did i play the same game as everyone else?

I have three games that i own that i consider to be terrible.
A witch's tale (DS) (horrible controls, terrible combat and needing to play a broken game twice just to get the 'true' ending)
Hoshigami Remix (DS) (unplayable, cheating AI, dumb characters)
and L'ark Rise Fantasia.(Wii)

These three all share one thing in common, i bought them on a whim and they ALL disappointed.
But of the three Ark Rise is the worst.
The voice acting is the worst i have ever heard.
The music is bland and derivative.
The story has the chance to be interesting but is really just a convoluted mess
But worst of all the cambat is non-existant.

It has all these things you can do, some of them activating at times where it doesn't make any sense... but none of that matters because you can just press a button (it's a shoulder button i think) and the game will play itself.
and wow is it tedious.
Still no matter how bad a game if i spend money on something i'm going to try to finish it (except hoshigami and witch's tale cause they are unplayable and i can't win) so i have managed to get all the way to the penultimate boss.
and he's too strong and i don't wanna grind so it's just kinda been sitting there on my shelf cause i rather play damn near ANYTHING else.

But the strangest thing keeps happening.
a few years ago i was talking about JRPGS on a bus and the person i was talking to suggested i play L'ark Rise since it was his favorite game. Whatever, everyone has their own taste... i'm sure most people don't care for Ys as much as i do.
then a few months ago someone else suggested i play it since it was so good.
Then the other day... same thing.

I have to wonder... did i play the same game as everyone else? am i missing something that makes the experience more enjoyable? I would love to know what so i can finally beat it and write a nice long ramble on why i didn't enjoy my experience with the game. 
Have you ever had an experience where you play something and didn't like it but everyone else seems to? or where you hear great things about something and then when you play it you're underwhelmed?
Also what are you least favourite games and why?

Also just for fun, voice clips!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Attack On Titan Bluray

Specifically the dub.

Now as i mentioned before (like... just a few months ago) i was worried i wouldn't like this show because
1. I Do not like the art style, the abundance of white highlights on skin is stil lenough to pull me out of the moment.
2. The hype behind this show was a bit intimidating and i worried nothing could live up to it.
3. The internet had spoiled one of the bigger plot twists.
4. I had heard that while it was a huge cast characters died before they had much chance to develop...
5. It's a title that focuses on fighting which are hit and miss with me... they tend to get boring. 

And upon my first viewing i realized.
1. even after 25 episdoes i still do not like the art style... the animation is stunning and i love how diverse the characters all look but that shading on the skin...
2. i found, especially early on, some of the imagery to be far to on the nose or shocking for the sake of being shocking.
3. The music is pretty kick ass.... not only that one intro but ALL the music... every intro and ending song as well as all the background music and insert songs.
4. The show, for the most part lived up to the hype, I found Eren to be a little bland for a main character but the rest of the cast was handled well... especially Levi and Mikasa and even Armin.

So when i saw the Bluray on sale i figured no harm i npickign it up, i am curious about the dub after all.

upon rewatching i remembered how easy it is to marathon this show... "one more episode" goes by so quickly it doesn't feel like 22-25 mins at all.

So how was the dub?
Pretty good, the main cast was very solid, Mikasa, Armin and Eren are pretty much perfect casting choices... I even warmed up to Eren a bit cause the voice gave him a little more personality... he's still bland versus everyone else but what can you do.

the background cast was a bit wooden at times though but i don't blame them... they had a lot of characters to cast.

Also the casting for Levi was good too. I missed hearing Hiroshi but he's actually a character in hearts R so i've been getting my fill as of late. but yeah everyone does a good job, I still hope that we eventually get another season of this... i figure considering how close this came out after the manga started that maybe they were just waiting forthe manga to get further ahead. i haven't read the manga at all so i don't know for sure. (i may eventually read it but that art... *sighs*)
I know theres a movie coming out but i'm not sure if thats new content or a condensed/alternate retelling (cause like... 70% of films based on anime are alternate retellings... irritating)
I do hope the show continues to grow since the first 25 episodes only really cover a few unanswered questions. We still need to know abotu the key, the basement, the wall and the secret of the titans.

OH... one thing about the bluray i didn't like.
In the midroll bumpers there are little explinations about the world.
I read all of them because crunchy translated them all... but when watching in english these midroll bumpers are not translated.
And i just can't think of why... especially considering some people can't stand watching subbed anime if there is an english alternative. if you don't read those bumpers you miss out on some key parts of the story (especially for the monolith wall of text that is the ep 25 bumpers that explains the entire myth of the wall)

So yeah if you are unsure about the show, give it a shot Crunchy only has 1-13.5 available while the Bluray is newly out. Apparently it'll be back after December 9th.
If you don't like hyper violence this show may not be for you but if you are overall unsure theres no harm in giving the first 4 episodes a try to see if it's something you like. I dsay 4 because it gives you enough explination of the world and it's rules and starts to tone down on the insanely blatant imagery.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tales of Xillia 2

Scroll down to the bolded text if you don't wanna read my ranting and raving over the past week

Normally i write these when i finish them...
Normally games don't piss me off as much so i'm going to make notes while i play.
Sadly i don't easily forgive bullshit game design so even if the rest of the game is amazing... this can't be any better then a mediocre for me.

So, i had seen a lot of mixed things about this game... mostly negative but hey.... i have liked games that most people didn't care for in the past so i figured i should still give this a shot... it's only fair considering i bought it.

Things i liked right off the bat.
i got lots of in game stuff for having played Xillia and Graces F... that made me smile.
yeah that was pretty much it.

Things that worried me off the bat
No intro song upon first boot up... you have to play to a certain place in the game (it's really early on) before you see it... they did this in Xillia as well but it was a bit easier to understand since the visuals you got for the intro vid were different based on who you picked.
the game takes a long time to load up and feel the need to check for DLC 3 times before you even get to pick your file.

So then i got to playing... and was reminded that the music for the world you start in is really terrible (that may just be me and jazzy tunes not getting along but i think even people who like jazz would hate the music)
Still i enjoyed the fact that there is the Illusion of choice, it makes you feel like your in control even though i have a feeling a lot of the dialogue choices lead to the same end result.

But then we come to Ludgar.
now before anyone says "they made him say nothing so that you created his personality"
someone can correct me if i'm wrong but when i played Tales of Symphonia 2: dawn of the new world there were dialogue options... yet Emil (emile?) still had a lot of personality... and i still felt like i was shaping his personality and dealing with the whole ratatosk (no idea if i'm spelling it right... it's been years since i played TOS2) thing.
It's neat that they are trying to give me a bit more control over how this character acts but wow he is just so dull, and he always looks like a wounded puppy which makes me dislike him even more.
For me Character trumps everything.
character is more important then plot, music and gameplay combined for me... this goes for all entertainment. if i don't like the protagonist then i will not enjoy what the rest of the thing has to offer.

Still the supporting characters are fine.... i guess... they kinda feel fanservicy for the most part cause it's like "look they are the same but slightly different.... you shouldn't need to accuse one character of betraying you again... granted now he has no personality but hey he's got a beard.... neato right?"
Elle is cute but other then "i need to go to cannan" she doesn't do much... i'm still pretty early in though so that should change when it's revealed that she is or is related to a certain character who has been mentioned lots lately.

but all that is not why i'm starting to write this early.

ok... side story:
Back in the day my father came home one day with a game i had never heard of "Evolution Worlds" for the Gamecube.
the graphics were terrible but the plot was lovely and is a game i still think about and remember the good times.
that game had a debt system.... if you payed off your massive debt then you got something special.... if you played again and paid off your even bigger debt you were treated to something even better.
however the game didn't care to much if you never paid any of your debt off.
it was up to you. (side side story, the game took away my best character for the final battle... boy was i pissed)

So.... coming back ot this game... you have to pay off your debt.... but apparently no you shouldn;t
you should just wait for the game to say "hey you have to pay this off to progress the story!" because otherwise you are going to be stuck doing fetch quests and bullshit gametime padding crap that doens't further the story and above all else IS NOT FUN.
i play games for fun.... why would i want to play a game for work... i shouldn't be forced to do quests if i don't want to and giving me a stupid paywall blocking my progress... what is this a mobile game?

however... it's not all bad.

one thing that made Xillia a little enjoyable was trying to connect it to Phantasia.

this one practically confirms is... i'm pretty sure Aska (like maxwell) has only appeared in one other game... phantasia...
also Elle's last name is Mal Marta
marta is the other character is TOS2 which is canonically in the phantsia world.
still... a few nods to my fav Tales of game will not win me over...
i just gotta beat it before Tales of Hearts R arrives cause i know if i stop playing Xillia 2 i will never pick it back up... it's just not enjoyable enough right now.
still... lets see where it goes from here.

Now since writing up my little rant i have looked up a few things.
I wanted to see how fast the game could be beaten...  and i saw around 12 hours. i tend to explore a bit so i figure it'll be closer to 15-20 but i am aiming for 15.
i am halfway through the story (chapter wise) and i only have done one side chapter (and i didn't know thats what i was getting into when i started it)
I also remembered my most favorite part from Xillia 1... i can put Glasses on ludger... and alvin... and gaius... and jude...
prety much all the male characters now wear glasses and i gotta say my enjoyment of the cutscenes has gone up.
the story is still stupid and pointless but hey... glasses...

But now i have to talk about Milla.
did she change voice actors? like it's bad enough that they took all the charm and sweetness of her character and made her really annoying. when characters only whine and complain and blame others without actually trying to do anything to make it better... it's just annoying. I know too many people like that in my real life i don't need that in my games.

Lastly I want to go up to the person who decided you could only change your party in towns and smack them... the best feature of Xillia 1 was being able to change party members in the middle of a fight... now half the time the game doesn't even give me a choice of who's in my part when.

maybe i don't wanna have Gaius, milla and leia in my part.... maybe i want alvin instead of milla.... but nope... can't switch simply because the game has told me no. the others are there with me... but nope... plot says no.

oh... and the Slash/smash/pierce fighting dynamic is just making me wanna play Ys 7 or 4 instead of you... it does the system so much better.

Okay... i was wrong... not even glasses can save this game... the novelty wore off the instant i hit another "you gotta pay off your debt!" chunk.
the way i've been paying off debt is find elite monsters... kill a few.... pay off debt.
but night now i'm just feeling like i can't find any of them.
I head to the areas that i think it said they were in but really it was a different place and i wasted time looking around.

It's not that earning money is hard... even if you don't do any quests it's possible to fight enough monsters in a decent timeframe to pay off the debt.
On the other hand if i wanted to play an MMO where i needed to grind/do fetch quests to proceed then i would play an MMO.

There are two key things that can keep me playing a bad game.
1) If the story is good and/or just interesting enough where i don't care that the gameplay is a little dull or repetitive...
2) if the gameplay is fun enough to override a dull plot.

Had this been a game about Alvin's time pre meeting Milla and Jude... or perhaps about jude after the events of the main game and how he's dealign with that.... or about Gaius and Muset and their mindset... this could have been a really interesting story.
Instead we get a story of two brothers who can go into other dimensions and destroy them... are the ramifications of destroying a world brought up? occasionally but it always boils down to "well i feel bad but i kinda gotta do it so.... too bad"
oh and it has characters from the other game so we can call it a sequel... even though sequel should expand upon ideas or world elements and this just doesn't do anything.

The combat on the other hand actually annoys me.
In Graces F (which i shouldn't have played before i played this cause then maybe i owuldn't be so annoyed by the combat here) square is Dodge, side step and backstep. when you do these actions it feels like you are actually dodging attacks.
in Xillia 2 dodge and backstep are square.... Side step is some odd combo like L1 and X... while X is otherwise attack... and L1 is half of the button combo needed to switch weapons... it's just not intuitive... it has no flow and 99% of the time ends with me hitting X a bunch, maybe throwing a circle in there if i'm bored... and then waiting for the fight to finish.

Graces f came how many years before Xillia 2? why would you take a really good combat system and just not keep any of the elements that made it good (guard also being used for dodge, having to wait for your meter to fill up before you can attack again and figuring out if you should attack early or wait for it to fill all the way, having two strings of attack possibilities with a sheathed weapon vs a blade)

Part of me thought that if i can get to the end of Arc Rise Fantasia that i would be able to play through any terrible rpg....
another part of me thougth that tales of symphonia would always be the low point of that series for me..
i guess part of me was wrong.

I don't know if i want to finish it.
i mean i wanna finish it cause i bought it and i hate wasting money...
but it's not fun
i'm not having fun
i play games to have fun
this is just so damn dull... i don't even want to bother anymore.
oh well.. Hearts R in a week... if i haven't beaten it by then... then i probably never will.


Spoilers from here on cause i am just... beyond caring.

We you start up the game you see a character and my first reaction to him was "that is either Ludgar or Ludgar's father"
because tales of isn't always the best at being subtle... and knowing that ludgar was going to spend the rest of the game caring for her and their cooking was damn near the same and how he is so much like elles father like she CONSTANTLY reminds us.
but how it was revealed to me made me wanna throw my controller.

Ludgar never talks, you have to beat the game one to get his voice because otherwise the reveal would be too obvious.
Ludgar does grunt and occasionally say a word here or there...
it was enough.
When Victor spoke for the first time i was so angry. "you took his personality and his voice for a stupid reveal that i guessed when i booted up this stupid game?... all to hide this 'secret' that was confirmed the second the character in question spoke? Are you kidding?" like... it wasn't a surprised but i dunno... i think it's pretty obvious that it's the same voice actor.
he then proceeded to kick my ass so... who knows if i'll be able to beat him since i don't think i can grind at this point.
but yeah i just so don't care.
i am so done...
but at the same time i only have 3 more chapters after this.
so close to the end... but so done with this stupidity.

oh... and even if it hasn't been declared cannon as the same world as Phantasia and Symphonia... it is.
between Aska, mentioning the city of Thor, the look of the little spiryte, shadow, mentioning chamelion, focusing on origin and the two worlds thing... yeah... 100% same world just in the far future.
what about the tree? i'm sure it's there somewhere and even if it isn't it's withering away would make sense with the one world losing all magic.
and maybe elves/half elves were all killed off or something.
but yeah... being connected to phantasia didn't make me like symphonia and it sure as hell isn't making me like this one.

Also i'm done putting in effort for something that put no effort in itself... easy mode activated cause i just want this over and done with.

I didn't think this game could make me any angrier.
Boy i've been wrong a lot in this extremely long rant over multiple days.

So in Chapter 15 (which is the penultimate chapter as far as i understand) you see a scene of how ludger could have been
full of personality
not a sniveling mopey blank slate.
Why would they take that away?
i know why, i complained about why the other day but that reason doesn't seem worth crippling your main character.
he could have spoken the entire game and when victor started to talk most people would have just gone "oh!" instead of "oh you kept him from talking so we wouldn't figure it out even though it's pretty obvious"
oh well... in the end... i'm on what i believe to be the final chapter... i should be able to beat this before hearts r arrives... and then i will write my final thoughts as concisely as possible... cause i think this has gone on long enough. 

~Hearts R arrives~
Dammit... ok... still i wanna beat this so Hearts R will be my reward for getting through Xillia 2..
unless i cave
i may cave.
i have less then no will power.


I'm going to keep this as short as i can... i have gone on more then long enough.

This game doesn't need to exist, which is kinda fitting since if i were to tack on any central theme it would have to be Existence.
However unlike other tales of games it really doesn't have a point.

Theres talk about fractured dimensions and the fact you may just be another 'fake' world and you are essentially murdering thousands of people left right and center. Is this ever explored? not really.. you get a bit of "oh boy i sure feel bad about this" as you are crushing worlds.

Theres talk about bonds and what it means to protect someone... but in the end it doesn't really matter because as much as i tried to protect people it was just shoved back in my face as none of my choices even mattered (well none of the choices before the 15th chapter as far as i can tell)

Theres the slightest hint at what it means to be family.... but according to the game what it means is that you have to kill each other to get ahead... sacrifices must be made and all that.

I dunno maybe had they done something with the fact Ludgar is essentially a blank slate and what it means to actually be an individual and the weight of a choice it could have been a really interesting concept. but instead they just hide his voice to 'hide' and insanely obvious plot twist.

This had potential and i think thats what pisses me off so much about this.

It feels like a blatant cash grab
it feels like they weren't even trying
it feels like they were trying to pad out what should have probably be an expansion on the first game.

When i first beat the game i was positive i got the bad ending cause of the weak sappy music.... and i was okay with that cause honestly i had stopped caring about this somepoint after the charm of putting all the male characters in glasses wore off.
i got the normal ending.... which was cute i guess but still very normal.
apparently i made the right choices in chapter 16 for the true end but not 15... oops
now that i have watched the true ending (cause i will not replay this, even for the 'joy' of actually listening to ludgar talk) there is still no point. there is no central theme... there is no bigger message.

Oh well at least in the credits i got to see the same name attached to Phantasia, symphonia and xillia.... (and vesperia but ignoring that for now)  so i say thats confirmation of same world... at least it's close enough in my eyes.

To be honest.... i was hoping the cat would be a more important role... why else would it be there the entire time.
oh well.

Still i shouldn't be completely negative...

The good:
Elle is adorable, if the story had been even more about her and her dealings with being away from her dad i would have been happier.
you get to have gaius in your party... thats kinda neat.
Oh! the intro song is nice, makes a good theme through the game. (i mean... it's not as good as Karma but what is)

The bad:
Debt system thats just meant to pad out the game
has little to nothing to do with xillia 1 other then returning characters.
combat system is crippled.
during all but one main chapter stories you don't get to pick your party (which i loath, don't give me a wealth of characters and then not let me pick)
The returning characters have no personality... this one i may come off as a little unfair since i didn't do any side chapaters (other then 1 for jude and boy was i annoyed that happened, i just wanted to get through the game as quick as possible) but seriously Alvin is no longer fun, Jude is just whiny, Millia was always kinda flat and seems to have lost what littler personality she got at the end of the first game. Elize and rowan play no part in the main plot at all in any way.

I didn't like this game....
I never thought i would dislike a tales of game more then Symphonia.
But i hate Symphonia cause i hate Lloyd... he was just so annoying.
Not to mention it was insanely predictable, my friend (who i was playing with) punched me every time i guessed the next plot line.... i got punched a lot.
Where this it's the complete absence of any personality... the plot happens around them... and they just happen to follow.
in my opinion that isn't good storytelling and it sure as hell isn't good for a game thats main draw should be it's story (again i may be alone on this one but this game doens't have good game mechanics either).

So yeah.... my Tales of list!

1. Phantasia
2. Graces f (specifically trails and tribulations)
3. Abyss and Vesperia
4. Symphonia 2: Dawn of the New worlds
5. Xillia
6. Destiny (cause it didn't work on my system)

9. Symphonia
10. Xillia 2

NOW... i got Hearts R earlier today and i'm hoping it'll be better then Xillia 2.

also if you read all this then thank you very much for dealing with my angry ranting... it made me feel a lot better to get it off my chest while i played.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Ys II: Castle in the Heavens

This is the anime adaptation of Ys II and i'm about to get really fangirly so.... yeah.

I'm baised... i love this series so much so of course i liked the anime adaptation... i think it actually does a better job of telling the story then the game... but it is an early 90s anime so the animation is a bit odd... still... this made me too happy.

Still i think i liked the adaptation for valid reasons so if you don't mind a bit of a rundown on the myth and fun ways to look at the series read on.
if you want someone calmly discussing an old anime... i am not that person.

This is not the only Falcom anime i own, I also own the adaptation of Ys I and i own the trails in the sky anime (which i wont watch till second chapter comes out.... so it's going to be on my shelf for a while longer) and if we ever get that webseries that has 3 min episodes on dvd i will own that too.

I personally really enjoy watching anime adaptations of video games cause they will either be really good concise telling of the important bits of plot (like this) or they will be a jumbled mess that only those who actually played the game will get (like the tales of phantasia adaptation which i also love but i understand that it is NOT a good adaptation) 

So i put the DVD in and much like the Ys I menu it looks like it was heavily inspired by the game interface which i love... Normally before i watch anything i quickly check the special features of a DVD just to see whats there.

"Ys 4 Preview"
wait..... wait what? a animated preview for Ys IV: Dawn of Ys?

So i click and we get this 3 min preview that looks really cool and now that i have played celceta i can see which pieces were taken from dawn on ys and then i can figure out what bits were probably inspired by the other Ys IV (cause heaven forbid that something in the falcom timeline make sense... so lets have 2 Ys IV) and it just looked great...
but i couldn't tell if it was an ad for the anime adaptation (which is what it looks like/it would make sense since for some unknown reason Ys 4 comes before Ys 3) or if it was an ad for the game.
I'm leaning towards ad for the game cause i can't find infor of this ANYWHERE... the internet doesn't know about it's existence.
Still i wish it was an anime adaptation, I would buy it so fast cause it actually looked really good. So yeah i had my hopes up and then immediately dashed before i even watched the show.

Then i started it up and oh boy, i couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear.

The show starts off with the Fight with Dark Fact, Spoilers for an old game that has been remade at least 15 times (if not more) but Adol wins and after reading the Book of Fact all 6 books from the priests glow and surround him and he is whisked off to the land of Ys.
He is found by Lilia, a young girl from the village of Lance who gets Adol out of the middle of a battle field and nursed him back to health.

Why this on it's own made me so incredibly happy.
1. Adol drops his sword when the books lift him up and the impact of falling into Ys destroys his armor... it is the perfect explination for why Adol starts as practically powerless at the start of Ys 2 despite having just taken on a being that could weild magic and winning.
2. It shows Dark Fact as being kinda pitiable, he's not a bad guy but he has been tainted with evil and his heart keeps getting influenced by that. (side note i like thinking that he's toal's descendant and not Hugo since the way Reah looks at Dark Fact in some of the promo art is just so darn cute)

Anyways so as we go we find out that monsters hold all the power and will constantly ask for human sacrifices but the number of sacrifices as of late has dramatically increased.
Lilia ends up getting picked as a sacrifice after she defends another girl.
Adol is not cool with just sitting back while the girl who saved him gets killed for no reason so he goes to stop it... after succeeding instead of being congratulated (like he is in the game) he is called the Devil by the towns people who then capture him and try to give him over to the enemy to curry favor with the monsters.

Here's where the fangirling starts... i am not sorry.
As i started to become a fan of the series i was curious about the myth it was based on (cause i love mythology) so i did a little research and while i wasn't able to find and read the myth myself here is the basic rundown.

Ys is a type of atlantis myth but it focuses more on Paris.

Ys is guarded by a woman named Dahut (i have seen a version with two women but we'll focus on this telling) who is the daughter of King Gradlon. Now Dahut is not a good guardian and all sorts of debauchery happens under her watch/by her order. The land is essentially cursed by god because it's just too unholy. One day a knight dressed in red seduces Dahut (it's not hard as she has a new partner every night whom she murders in the morning with a magical mask) and tricks her into either giving him the key that her father carries around his neck or opening the gates herself during a storm.
Well this is bad news cause the man dressed in red is apparently the devil and this act makes Ys sink, killing everyone there.
Paris was built as a sort of replacement (par - Is meaning "like Ys")
the final part of the myth sais that when Paris falls Ys will Rise.

Thanks to this myth i always loved the idea that what if Adol really is the devil in the games.
Think about it.
In every game what is the basic plot?
Adol arrives in a new place, Kills something that could be akin to a godlike being. If there is magic in the world he tends to destroy the ability to use it... and then he leaves having ruined everyones day... he even makes ys fall (though into land instead of into the sea)
I just thought it was a fun alternate way of looking at the series but this anime actually explores it...
EVERYONE calls him the devil... the people who fear him, the monsters who want to bring more evil into his heart and even the big bad that wants to make Adol the avatar of the destruction of the world and rule over it with him.
of course, Adol being the kind hearted knight that he is doesn't fall to evil but i LOVE that they actually explored this "what if"

Not to mention that is actually gives more importance to Lilia's participation in the story and makes her a much bigger part then in the game.
I wish this was longer then 4 episodes... i was just having too much fun
i want anime adaptations of all the Ys games now.

The anime is also a very accurate representation on how to play Ys 2
Adol gets magic in the second game... and you almost never use the sword anymore cause why would you... you can have homing balls of fire take out enemies instead.
so in the anime Adol doesn't have a sword (or if her gets one it doesn't last long) for most of the episodes... and when he does get the Cleria sword they focus on the fact that Cleria is what made monsters (and magic and the evil in mans heart) to begin with and how it's slowly poisoning his mind as he seeks revenge.
sure i would have loved to see Roo adol but only 4 episodes... i'll let it slide.

that last thing i'll talk about has nothing to do with the show but made me laugh.

I started watching this Friday night since i finished Devil Survivor 2 the day before and some of the voices i recognized a little but nothing jumped out at me.
Saturday though when i watched Lilia's voice was suddenly Extremely familiar... i knew that voice... but honestly i shouldn't.... in 92 i wasn't watching anything with subs... i would have been 4-5... and i actualyl don't watch a lot of old anime in general, it's not easy to find and it's almost always expensive.
so what had changed between friday nigth and Saturday night.
I had watched the new episode of sailor moon crystal.
Sailor moon crystal has the voice actor for Usagi reprise her role.
Sailor moon is one of the only old (and from the 90s to boot) anime i own and watch fully every few years in japanese.
So i grabbed my vita which charges right by my bed and check and yep... same voice actor... i laughed.
she sounds exactly the same... even though it has been so long between Ys 2 and Sailor moon crystal.

but yeah... i loved this adaptation.
it's even better then the game cause it goes so much more into the things i love about this series.
makes me so happy and fangirl so much but i'm not sorry.
also i needed this... what you don't know is i have a huge rant about Xillia 2 all types up that wont be posted till i beat or chuck the game out the window (whichever happens first) and i hate being negative but this show just brought me so much joy.

however if you are not as much of a fan of the series as me it may not do it for you... it works well as a stand alone and i think it makes perfect sense (though you'll need to watch the Ys I adaptation as well) and it's also pretty cheap, i think i payed around 20 bucks for both Series.

i still want the rest of the games to get adaptations... that would make me so happy words wouldn't even begin to describe.

also (this is a bit of a giveaway) but the music in this show is so good. some lovely arrangements of the games music.
still... thats enough fangirling for one day.
and again i am really biased so if you don't like it then i completely understand.
Still you should go check it out if you can!